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Wondrous Words Wednesday

I am joining Kathy this week, to share these three, new to me words, I have discovered in my recent reading. I hope that you enjoy playing along too!

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1. EMMETS

As we visit Cornwall on a regular basis and I used to work for a Cornish lady, this word was buried somewhere deep in the recesses of my memory, although I could never have even hazarded a guess at its meaning.

I discovered it whilst preparing my spot on the Blog Tour for Cottage On A Cornish Cliff by Kate Ryder, where my extract is taken from the opening chapter .. The Blog Tour begins here on October 16th!

Cover Image Of The Book 'Cottage On A Cornish Cliff' By Author Kate Ryder

“Painting white on white is always tricky, but what a difference,’ Cara says, placing her roller in a paint tray. ‘It always astounds me how grubby the walls get through the season. I mean, it’s not as if it’s dirty work we do here!’

‘Must be all those emmets rubbing their greasy palms over the walls after they’ve had fish and chips for lunch,’ comments Sheila.

‘Don’t you be saying that,’ says Carol with a laugh. ‘No greasing of palms goes on here.’ Sheila chortles. ‘I’ll prepare lunch,’ continues Carol. ‘What do you want to drink? Coffee or wine?”

EMMETS

Is a pejorative nickname that some Cornish people use to refer to the non-Cornish. It originally referred to tourists who visit Cornwall but has also been used by native Cornish Folk to refer to “incomers” or residents who have moved to the county but were not born there.

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2 &3. PYEONG and ONDOL

I’m not really sure why these words should have intrigued me so much, when the book has so much more to offer the reader, but I’m afraid my OCD tendencies wouldn’t let me leave the post, until I had checked them out.

I was visiting MK French’s review of the book Ginseng Tango by Cheryl Pallant, over at the blog ‘Girl Who Reads

Cover Image Of The Book 'Ginseng Tango' by Cheryl Pallant

Two western colleagues and the department chair pick me up from the airport and drive me to my university apartment. The space, much smaller than my house in Richmond, is three pyeong large, a dorm-like 350 or so square feet, with kitchen area, desk, wardrobe, bed, and night stand. The floor is heated Korean style, an ondol, something to look forward to when the weather cools or I need to dry clothes. The bathroom converts into a shower with the press of a button, a nozzle hanging from the wall near the sink. Through the sliding glass doors near my bed is a view of an angled, red tiled roof and an easily climbable railing for getting to a large flat roof which I anticipate using to extend my small deck.

PYEONG

A pyeong (abbreviation py) is a Korean unit of area and floorspace, equal to a square kan or 36 square Korean feet. In South Korea, the unit has been officially banned since 1961 but with little effect prior to the criminalization of its commercial use effective 1 July 2007. Informal use continues, however, including in the form of real estate use of unusual fractions of meters equivalent to unit amounts of pyeong.

 

ONDOL

In Korean traditional architecture, is underfloor heating that uses direct heat transfer from wood smoke to heat the underside of a thick masonry floor. Why do Koreans insist on ondol? The reason is simple: everyone loves it. “Ondol” is the Chinese character for the Korean term “gudeul,” which literally means “baked stones.” Thus, ondol refers to a system of heating in which stones are “baked” to heat the floor and with them the room—an extraordinary system entirely unique to Korea that does not exist elsewhere in the world.

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WONDROUS WORDS WEDNESDAY

… Is An image for the weekly meme Wondrous Words Wednesdaya weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading.

It is hosted by Kathy, over at ‘BermudaOnion’s Weblog’.

You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well, so that we can visit and share your words of the week!

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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12 comments
  • Hi Yvonne. I’m very familiar with the word ’emmet’ of course, though I don’t use the it. For some reason it feels vaguely insulting but I do have relatives living down there who use it. Possibly because I’ve lived away from Cornwall longer than I lived there I have a different sensitivy to these matters of ‘furriners’ and locals. I do a lot of mental eye-rolling when I’m down there to be absolutely honest with you.

    • Of course! I forgot you are a Cornish lass by birth, so you know all about the love-hate relationship between locals and ’emmets’ – Can’t live with us, can’t live without us 🙂

      I have been wracking my brains, as in the back of my mind, I could remember hearing a more generic word, used in much the same way as ’emmet’, but on a much wider scale – Then it came to me, as hubbie used to use ‘grockle’ all the time, when he was discussing non-locals in Southampton and Portsmouth, which is where he originally hails from!

      Popular theory has it that the phrase ‘grockle’, was first popularised in Torquay, by the characters in the filming of the 1964 movie, ‘The System’.

      To anybody of a sensitive nature, I guess that one word sounds as bad as the other if it is directed at you. However, I am of the opinion that you have to earn the respect of any community you join, even more so if you are just visiting, whether you are spending a little, or a lot, of money!

      Thanks for joining in today, it is great to touch base 🙂

    • Sometimes I think it is worse to have half remembered a word, as in my case with ’emmet’, but not be able to put my finger on an exact definition; as I find myself wondering if I never did actually know the definition, or if I did know it and had forgotten it, which is much worse!!

      Having words which are totally new to me, is definitely my preferred option 🙂

    • Apparently the pyeong was introduced into Korea by the Japanese, during their years of occupation from 1910 – 1945 (another fact I didn’t know!), so perhaps that might explain why it was criminalized?

      We have underfloor heating in our bathrooms, which I have to admit, is really lovely first thing on a cold winter’s morning. Although I hasten to add that our system is totally powered by electricity and transformers, not a whiff of traditional Korean wood smoked heated bricks, although I would love to experience an authentic system, should one still exist!

      Thanks for hosting and for taking the time to visit 🙂

  • They’re all new to me this time, Yvonne and to be honest… not words I feel I could easily work into conversation!

    I was just thinking of you and this meme. Here are four words I’ve come across in my reading the past couple of days: ambuscade, moiety, illeism, and cryptophasia. I know you enjoy the research, so I’ll leave you to it! 😀

    • Whilst ’emmet’ is very much a Cornish word, it’s counterpart ‘grockle’ is quite widely used, so would be much easier to drop into a conversation, as hubbie does quite often, when talking to his R.A.F. friends, or family.

      The Korean words are definitely more of a challenge to use in everyday conversation, but as ‘ondol’ can relate to any generic underfloor heating, it is not outside the realms of possibility to include it in everyday usage.

      Thanks for taking part with your own selection of words this time, they are all new to me. If these four are just a few of the examples you could have chosen, you must be reading some very interesting books. I had great fun checking them out and will share the definitions here, just to satisfy the curiosity of any other wordsmiths who may stop by …

      ‘AMBUSCADE’ – A variant form of ambush

      ‘MOIETY’ – Each of two parts into which a thing is or can be divided.

      ‘ILLEISM’ – The act of referring to oneself in the third person instead of first person. Illeism is sometimes used in literature as a stylistic device. In real life usage, illeism can reflect a number of different stylistic intentions or involuntary circumstances.

      ‘CRYPTOPHASIA’ – A phenomenon of a language developed by twins that only the two children could understand. The word has its roots from the Greek crypto, meaning secret, and phasia, meaning speech. Most linguists associate cryptophasia with idioglossia, which is any language used by only one, or very few, people.

  • Isn’t it amazing what you discover when you surf the net! I am a southerner who moved to Cornwall in 2001. I have never been called an emmet (to my face) but I have heard it used many times. In COTTAGE ON A CORNISH CLIFF I didn’t write it in an insulting way, but merely as a teasing conversation between two good friends having a laugh while undertaking the annual redecoration of an art gallery!

    Love Pyeong and Ondol! But, like Kathy, I wonder why a government would criminalise a unit of measure? Mind you, I’ve visited South Korea and it’s not that much of a surprise…

    • I guess that if you haven’t been directly called an emmet or a grockle, then you must have earned your stripes and been accepted into the Cornish community by now 🙂

      I am sure that for every native Cornish person who uses either term in a derogatory way, there are many more, who are like Cara, Carol and Sheila, use the words as part of their everyday chat and banter.

      I did do a little more research when Kathy raised the question of the Korean government criminalising Pyeong …

      “Apparently the pyeong was introduced into Korea by the Japanese, during their years of occupation from 1910 – 1945 (another fact I didn’t know!), so perhaps that might explain why it was criminalized?” …

      Did you watch the recent television mini-series, where Michael Palin visited North Korea. I know that he would only have been allowed to film and ask questions, strictly by the government rules, but even so, it was a bit of an eye-opener. The empty airport really cracked me up!

      Thanks for visiting and I hope that you didn’t mind me featuring ‘Cottage On A Cornish Cliff’ in this feature 🙂

  • Oh no, Yvonne, I didn’t mind at all you featuring COTTAGE ON A CORNISH CLIFF. I was really chuffed that you found something of extra note amongst its pages!

    I didn’t see the mini series with Michael Palin visiting North Korea, but when I visited South Korea (many years ago) we did take a trip to the border with North Korea. We were asked to keep strictly within our group and to not take any photographs. It was very sobering looking through the wire fence into that rigid and sterile country. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have been born in the West!

    • I am as guilty as so many other people, of complaining about our little lot in this country.

      However when you compare our freedom and relative wealth with the poverty and oppression experience by so many people in other parts of the world, we should perhaps count our blessings a little more.

      I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday October 16th, as I kick off the Blog Tour of ‘Cottage On A Cornish Cliff’

      Have a great weekend – despite the weather forecast 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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